How to Find Great Job Candidates

Author: Rieva Lesonsky | June 25, 2015

One of the best signs the stagnant economy is finally behind us is that businesses large and small are once again ready to hire employees. But hiring is not that simple. According to the 2015 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, small business owners’ biggest concern right now is finding the right job candidates to help their businesses grow.

As small business optimism rises, the business owners surveyed by SurePayroll are particularly interesting in adding sales and administrative positions, with 36 percent of them admitting there are no barriers to hiring right now. So where are these business owners recruiting job candidates?

  • 25 percent now use LinkedIn, compared to just 5 percent last year.
  • 37 percent turn to job websites, such as CareerBuilder and Monster, compared to 21 percent in 2014.
  • 65 percent rely on word-of-mouth, compared to 44 percent in 2014.

Other popular recruiting methods include: placing ads in local newspapers, attending job fairs, using internship programs and hiring recruiting firms/headhunters. Usage of all these methods is up significantly more than last year.

Need more ideas? Try these resources to start your search for qualified job candidates.

  1. Friends and family. For many, this is dangerous territory. If you decide to hire friends or family members, be sure to make your expectations clear and understand what they expect. It’s especially important to keep the lines of communication open, as it’s easy for resentments to build. You’ll have to make it very apparent to your other employees that these new hires are not getting any special treatment—this is not the place to play favorites. Also, make sure you understand the IRS rules for hiring family members. (For more information on family business tax issues, visit the IRS website.)
  2. Social media. Advertising a job on social media is not as scattershot as you might think. Each of the major social media platforms offers tips and suggestions for how to best use its site for your employee search. LinkedIn has become the go-to site for candidates looking for jobs and employers searching for candidates. Check out the LinkedIn Small Business Hiring Playbook for best practices. Twitter recommends not only tweeting about jobs at your company, but also sharing news and events to expose your company culture, using hashtags to find people who may not be following you and using video to show your company “behind the scenes.”
  3. Job websites. If you’ve never posted a job on one of the major job websites, be prepared to be bombarded with resumes. Most job websites charge by the listing and give discounts for multiple postings. You’ll also be offered the chance to increase views and engagement by purchasing all sorts of recruiting tools. The advantages to using one of these websites (such as Monster, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder and SimplyHired) they reach a lot of potential candidates and also offer prescreening tools so you (hopefully) only attract qualified candidates.
  4. Temporary hires. If you just want to hire for a temporary position or project, look at freelance websites such as eLance, oDesk, and Freelancer. These sites list thousands of freelancers in hundreds of fields. When outsourcing to a freelancer, be careful to abide by the IRS rules for hiring independent contractors. Even if you are looking for permanent employees, you never know when a temporary hire could turn into the permanent candidate of your dreams.
  5. Current employees. Your staff is ideally suited to knowing your business, its culture and the type of employees that would fit right in. Ask them for recommendations to fill open positions. You can even formalize a program and incentivize your employees by rewarding them for recommending someone you hire and who stays with you for at least six months or a year.

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